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Eating From Another Century

While the entire country has returned to school (and my homies in Colorado have been edumacating themselves since June), tomorrow is the big day for my pre-k youngster.

I’ve put little thought into it. I’m the last-minutest of last-minuters. Heaven help him when he tells me on a Tuesday morning, “I need a colonial costume, a book report on salmon spawning and a slow cooker full of locally-sourced clam chowder, today.”

What’s giving me the most anxiety?

Food.

Tomorrow is only orientation for the parents with an hour-long visit to the classroom for the kiddo, so I think to myself, “I have another couple of days for lunch-packing dress rehearsal.”

But who’m I kidding? I’ll wing it.

Originally, I’d planned to use my mom’s formula from 1981-1994: PB&J, Capri-Sun, a sprig of grapes (usually past their prime…tasting like wine), and two chocolate chip Soft Batch cookies. I’m not kidding. I ate that 98% of the lunches through my senior year. My beloved mom was too cheap (was that it?) to let me eat “hot lunch”, except for pig-in-a-blanket days (my fave) and holidays (I loved the school’s turkey and mashed potatoes.)

I’ve asked around and been informed that I am, indeed, planning lunches from 1987. Some of the advice:

Breaded sandwiches are last century.

Peanut butter brings out the “allergy lynch moms” (direct quote)

Bread makes kids groggy

Go paleo…meat-wrapped cheese.

And everyone, but EVERYONE, packs yogurt and hummus.

Since WHEN did hummus become an elementary school snack? “Because kids love to dip stuff.” Ridiculous. I mean…healthier than my lunch, but seriously. We’re ridiculous.

“>This list was helpful (and funny), even though I was the butt of the joke.

I can take it, Keeper of the Fruit Loops.

Weeks ago, I was merely asking myself, “Will I become a parent who cuts off crusts?”

My kids don’t even eat sandwiches. We do open-faced everything (“salmon toast”, “ham toast.”) I don’t know how it happened, but my kids barely understand how to hold two slices of bread with filling and eat it together. They dissect it all: PB&J, hamburgers, grilled cheese.

Which reminds of my first grade lunch transgressions: I ate ¾ of the crusts of my PB&J. Mom never wasted food, and though we never discussed bread crusts, somehow I knew a good boy ate his crusts. I’d nibble the top and sides, saving the soft bread in the middle for the end. But I never ate that 4th side.

I tossed it under the table. Because Mom would yell if I brought it home, thus “wasting it”.

Imagine that cafeteria custodian who saw one 3 ½ inch bread crust under the last table by the windows Every. Single. Day.

One time a lunch aide saw the crust and asked, “Who threw that?”

I stared blankly

Now, some aide is going to ask Ellison, “Who threw that exquisitely blanched broccoli floret?”

I imagine he’ll lie as effectively as I.

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